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“Hospitality with heart in authentic Morocco Riad” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Riad Samsara

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Riad Samsara
Ranked #34 of 1,176 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Paris, France
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Hospitality with heart in authentic Morocco Riad”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2011

An oasis of peace in the midst of the Medina’s densely animated streets. A real Riad, an early 1900's farmers house, in the lively but authentic neighbourhood of Bab Taghzout, set around an iron-wrought, wood carved, rose decorated courtyard. Madame of the maison, Jacqueline Brandt, Milouda her amazing cook (not forgetting the pets) sweep you within the character filled walls like a warm embrace. The stay here is intensely traditional, yet with the comfort (s) of familiarity, a European hued greeting. Staying in Samsara is a voyage. In décor, location and spirit. From the spread of local breads, jam, yoghurt and overflowing bowls of bursting ripe strawberries to the tangines and exotic vegetable dishes in the evening, the food is fresh, flavoursome and authentically Moroccan.

In light of my experience, I would like to make a comment about the sweet and sour review, 'Beautful Riad Pleasant Stay'. Reading this review on Trip Advisor (regarding not enough food, expensive prices, and average breakfast), it does not tally with my own experience, but more surprisingly does not tally at all with the visitor book comment left by these same guests on February 25th!

"The perfect place to spend our last night in Morocco ...a beautiful house (and most pertinently in light of the criticism) wonderful food".

As a fellow guest, but also as a travel writer, I can not help wonder what happened to prompt such a change of heart. Furthermore, having spoken with Milouda, the cook, she tells me 1kg of meat was served to the four people for dinner - a hefty 250grammes per person! She also served a full breakfast including yoghurt to the guests contrary to their comments on the site.

Unfortunately such a 'change of heart' voiced on Trip Advisor (but not strangely voiced at the time to the hosts) can be very harmful.

Finally I would like to add for anyone wondering about a trip to Morocco right now, do not hesitate. The political situation here seems, relatively at least, highly stable, and I have so far had a wonderful, safe week long stay.

Tamara Thiessen, Travel & Cultural writer

Stayed March 2011, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank TamaraThiessen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 8, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind and considered review. We do our best to make sure all our guests have wonderful stay and it is our pleasure you had a wonderful time. We look forward to welcoming you back to Morocco very soon.
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336 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
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English first
London
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2011

Though we arrived at night, being dumped by our taxi driver nowhere near the riad, as he was keen to go on his own holiday, getting lost in the alleyways and being led to the riad by local boys who asked for €20 for the privilege, once the door to Riad Samsara was opened - we were soothed and led into a beautiful candlelit courtyard and given mint tea to relax. Jacqueline, the owner, made us feel so at home and Milouda the housekeeper showed us to our beautiful room - the Jacaranda. So sumptuously decorated with fine rugs, cushions and a beautiful brass bed! We were in such a daze that Milouda walked us to a local, cheap grill to have our dinner - but we were so keen to get back and enjoy the Riad than stay out for a lot longer!! So we ordered a bottle of wine when we got back and enjoyed it in the courtyard and then on the rooftop terrace. The breakfast in the morning was delicious with pastries and fresh fruit. The riad is in a great spot to go visit the Marjorelle gardens, and once we returned, Jacqueline let us rest and brought out mint tea, cake and biscuits for us! Such great hospitality and she showed us the photos of all the local craftsmen who had helped rebuild this amazing riad. A real gem - it only has three rooms so you're guaranteed some respite from the craziness of the medina!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mcheri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 8, 2011
Thank you for your kind words, we are very happy you enjoyed your stay with us. I can only apologise for the behaviour of the boys, this is not the norm but in the past visitors to the area may have given such a sum as a thank you for helping them and subsequently it is expected.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2011

We stayed just one night at Riad Samsara (having had the previous night at Douar Samra, in the High Atlas mountains, in the village of Tamatert). Both Riad Samsara and Douar Samra are run by Jacqueline Brandt (whom we did not meet).

Riad Samsara is in the northern part of the Marrakech medina, a good 20 minute walk from the main square, Place dJemaa el-Fna. Milouda, the cook at the riad, met us on arrival and was very friendly, providing us with a map and explanation of the route (in French). The riad is furnished to a high standard, very clean, and with great attention to detail, giving an overall impression of luxury. There are 3 rooms, and we stayed in Ibiscus. The large bed was very comfortable. It’s exactly as depicted on the website, and as the room was a little cool on arrival we were pleased that the heater/aircon worked. Large deep marble bath and good shower. Dinner was an intimate candlelit affair, set on a low table, in one of the alcoves on the ground floor, which requires diners to be seated on low pouffes (footstools). The meat and vegetable tagine dinner served up by Milouda was hot and tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary, and not great value at €18 per person (not much meat in the dish for 4 people). Breakfast was in the same place, perfectly adequate, but nothing exceptional: fruit juice, breads and jam, and tea/coffee. It would have been nice to have access to cold drinks on returning to the riad after a hot morning of sightseeing, but this facility was not provided. The central courtyard of the riad is beautiful, and the small roof terrace was a quiet space to sit and relax.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank linda009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 8, 2011
Thank you for you kind words and thoughts on your stay with us at riad samsara. I am sorry you felt you did not have enough to eat, I am sorry you did not feel able to ask for more which often guests do as they enjoy Miloudas cooking. We aim to provide a high standard of traditional moroccan food as you would find in any moroccan home in favour of what you might find in restaurants. It is a really good idea for us to make guests more aware of drink facilities available, i hope that you will return to riad samsara soon so you can see our new improvement, thank you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2010

This little riad is hidden away down the side streets of the Bab Tarzout area of the old town. It's a labour of love of the wonderful Swiss lady who chose to make Marrakesh (and this riad) her home. She's brought her personal style and warmth to the home while ensuring that it's Morroccan through and through.

Rooms are clean and comfortable - if a little intimate (we had a double room that was a little on the small side with an ensuite bathroom that didn't have a door). The decor in the room was simple and the bathroom was beautiful and traditionally decorated.

Breakfasts are simple but what you need to set you up for the day.

I would definitely recommend that you spend at least one evening and eat in the Riad. Milouda (the house lady) cooks a beautiful tagine dinner which is served by candlelight in the gorgeous courtyard.

My only "personal recommendation"? If you're looking for one day excursions and a driver for the day, I'd look around rather than ask the house to book it for you. I'd also be a bit "cautious" about the house lady's recommendations of drivers (she told me that it was normal for a taxi driver - a friend of hers - to charge an amount for returning from town which I discovered was 4 times the going rate)

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sameera3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Dear Friends, Thank you so much for your nice words. I know that our taxi driver charge more but we are sure that they have a licence, they are serious and good english speaking. Hope to see you again. Jacqueline
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Linlithgow, Scotland
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2010

If I had to describe Riad Samsara in one word, I'd struggle to choose between "magical" or "perfect". We booked Samsara after getting in touch with Jacqueline, the owner, to book Douar Samra, her incredible place in the mountains. We were offered a special rate at Samsara and we did not hesitate to book as we were struggling to choose between the hundreds of riads on offer in Marrakech. Samsara far exceeded our expectations. Jacqueline gave us the warmest welcome we have ever had anywhere and we immediately felt completely at home. Jacqueline's "palais" is absolutely magical, especially at night when we arrived - it is filled with candles and the most peaceful, romantic oasis imaginable. We had a candlelight dinner of delicious traditional food prepared by Milouda. The rooms are fabulous and full of wonderful little touches. Other reviewers have mentioned that the riad is a bit out of the way but to be honest, the location is part of the charm of the place, as you are far enough away from the souks not to be hassled as soon as you step out of the door (but close enough to walk there is less than 10 minutes), Getting to the riad was not a problem at all for us - we asked Jacqueline to arrange a taxi to pick us up at the airport and this was completely hassle free - our bags were carried right to the door of the riad. Jacqueline is a wonderful woman - she has such style but will simply not accept this. We have already booked our return trip (with the kids this time) in April.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JulieMacd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Samsara Riad is your home, thank you so much for your kindness Jacqueline
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2010

We have recently returned from our first trip to Morocco and what a fabulous experience it was.We started in Marrakech spending two nights at the Riad Samsara,then travelled to the Atlas Mountains for five nights at Douar Samra,then back down to the Samsara for a further two nights.Both properties are owned by Jacqueline Brandt our charismatic, fantasic hostess.She really looks after her guests and has created two very different yet equally magical retreats.The Samsara is absolutely beautiful and a welcome haven from exciting,busy and slightly crazy Marrakesh! Its a little difficult to find your way through the maze of back streets to Marrakech's main square. In fact we got lost a lot until we worked out that its far easier to get a taxi there and use that as your startinglpoint!Be prepared to haggle for everything even the taxi fare ! (Jacqueline advised us not to pay more than 20-30 dirhams) great fun and all part of the experience! and when you have had enough of the hubbub there is the peace of the Riad with its delightful terrace,ornate courtyard and gorgeous rooms....and always Jacqueline smiling ,welcoming you home ith a glass of mint tea.
Melouda is the cook at the Samsara-the breakfasts were included in the costs and consisted of 3 different breads plus pancakes all freshly baked .A delicious start to the day.You can also order an evening meal -again delicious and very reasonable at 50 dirhams per head.
Our retreat to the Atlas mountains was equally as enchanting.The Douar Samra is situated in a beautiful green valley can be described as rustic and cosy .its an ideal base for walking and relaxing.You dont need to be a professional walker to experience this charming ,magical setting with some magnificent views.The Douar is run by locals from the village-Mohammed is smiling ,sometimes brusk but always helpful(at his own pace!)Rachida is the wonderful cook who produced a feast everynight which we ate in the communal dinning room.This was always an enjoyable few hours spent with fellow travellers sharing stories of their days adventures.
This holiday was the best I've had for years.Jacqueline has had the genius to provide an authentic Morrocan experience combined with what we Westerners demand from our accomodation- a comfy bed,good food,a hot shower and a decent toilet!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KateandEmmie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Thank you so much, our Samsara Princess .......you miss us Jacqueline
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2010

We stayed here on the recommendation of a friend and so glad we did.

This Riad is awesome! The rooms are just like the pictures, the owner & staff are so helpful and friendly. Also if you can eat here one night then do because the dinner is fantastic too.

We also stayed at the owners place in the atlas mountas Dour Samra, which was the perfect compliment of peace and quite to the bussle of Marrakech.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Matrix2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JacquelineMarrakech, Owner at Riad Samsara, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Samsara is a nice place to stay in an authentic area. Thank you for your so nice words Jacqueline
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Samsara

Property: Riad Samsara
Address: 6, Derb El Aarsa | Tarzout -Médina, Marrakech 40008, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 1,176 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Riad Samsara 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Riad Samsara is a traditional riad, full of charm, quietly nestled close to the heart of the bustling Medina. Jacqueline, your hostess, welcomes those travellers in search of an authentic experience, to her meticulously hand-renovated palace. The three opulent bedrooms each have their own individual style and are full of small touches to make your stay extra special.One of the most beautiful and original homes in Marrakech. Tailored for personal service and space, this is your own secluded sanctuary, a home from home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Samsara Marrakech

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